Three reasons Karen Budd-Falen is unfit to lead the Bureau of Land Management

SOURCE:  medium.com

Credit: Bureau of Land Management »» Budd-Falen Law Offices, Facebook

With a career dedicated to undermining public lands and public servants, Budd-Falen is uniquely unqualified for the director’s post

by Greg Zimmerman

Rumors are swirling that President Trump will nominate Wyoming lawyer Karen Budd-Falen to direct the Bureau of Land Management.

Budd-Falen is uniquely unqualified to oversee the BLM, a department charged with managing 258 million acres of America’s public lands — and nearly 700 million acres of oil, gas, and other minerals — on behalf of the American public. She has spent her career fighting against the very existence of U.S. public lands, filing frivolous lawsuits against the BLM, working to subvert public land managers, supporting unpopular efforts to dispose of public lands, and even aligning herself with fringe extremists.

Here are three important reasons Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Trump administration should look elsewhere rather than nominate Budd-Falen to run one of America’s most important agencies.

Budd-Falen sympathizes with the Bundy family and other anti-public lands extremists; she also wrote their playbook

For decades Karen Budd-Falen has been a leading voice in the the so-called “county rights movement” — an offshoot of the fringe county supremacy movement which holds that county sheriffs have ultimate authority over the federal government and can choose whether or not to enforce U.S. laws.

In the early 1990s she drafted Catron County, New Mexico’s “comprehensive land use & policy plan” which effectively declared the U.S. government is subservient to the county’s “custom and culture” — suggesting land managers could not regulate grazing, logging, and other uses of public lands.

The Catron ordinance is a detailed handbook for county supremacists and anti-public land extremists who’ve led multiple armed standoffs with public land managers and law enforcement. The land use plan goes so far as to claim that BLM land managers “undermined the practice of democracy….” The model plan drafted by Budd-Falen spread to dozens of counties across the West, and while most counties avoided testing the laws in court, a state court did invalidate a Catron-style ordinance in Boundary County, Idaho.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

 

Feel Good Sunday: Italian City to Use Quiet Fireworks Out of Respect for Critters

by R.T. Fitch

“More Companion Animals Run Away During the 4th Than any other Time of the Year…”

Living in an equestrian community it has always been the ‘law of the land’ to ban all types of fireworks at all times of the year for the sake of the horses and donkeys, but of course; there is always a drunk or unsupervised teenager who attempts to press the envelope during the 4th of July.  But all in all, we manage to stem the panic at a local level but are not exempt from the pops and booms from neighboring communities and our companion animals end up suffering stress from the surrounding commotion.

Years ago, when we had a quaint little farm in the countryside north of Lafayette, LA we were surrounded my neighboring farmers who would actually aim their aerial assault OVER our property just to watch our horses run as depicted in a story/chapter in our book, ‘Straight from the Horses Heart‘.

Even as I type, today, I have a little boarder collie glued to my desk chair as the pops and bangs from last night are still fresh in her mind.  This time of the year I am forced to sleep on the couch with one hand on my best friend, Roxy, to keep her settled during the nighttime explosions.  The couch is lower than the bed and she can nuzzle me with her nose when she gets too stressed.  Although this sleeping arrangement works well for her it does little for my rest during this holiday weekend.

But someone is doing something about all the noise.  Horses, donkeys, cats, dogs, and other companion animals living in the Italian town of Collecchio will now be able to rest a little easier during city-wide celebrations as the local government mandates that only silent fireworks be used out of respect for the critters.  Imagine THAT!

The town elders have figure out that more pets are lost, frightened, and stressed during holidays and special events in which fireworks are used in celebration than at any other time of the year. When spooked by a barrage of pops, bangs, and explosions, horses often bolt, running away to escape the blasts. Each year, hundreds of smaller pets such as cats and dogs never make it back home again.

That’s why the town of Collecchio in Italy’s Parma province has passed new legislation that mandates the use of silent fireworks as a way to minimize the fear and trauma equines, cats, dogs, and other animals experience during the celebratory displays.

One Italian company, Setti Fireworks, has already developed a quieter version of the brilliant displays and spectacular light shows, without the accompanying explosive sounds that send pets and wildlife into a panic. Similarly, fireworks companies in the U.S. have been developing quiet fireworks displays in anticipation of the trend toward respecting animals and wildlife expanding world wide…a trend that cannot come soon enough!

An interesting story on Quiet Fireworks: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/science/july-4-fireworks-quiet.html

Sen. Cardin Introduces Bill to Strip Wolf Protections, Undermine Endangered Species Act

Press Release from The Center for Biological Diversity
Forward by R.T. Fitch ~ co-founder/president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“We at Wild Horse Freedom Federation and at Straight from the Horses Heart cherish all that is wild, free and living life as God intended WITHOUT the destructive influences instituted by egotistical human beings.  Be it wild horses & burros or natural predators, Mother Nature has always been and could continue to be the best steward of wildlife without the interjection of man’s wants and whims.  Everything worked just fine until humans became involved in attempting to control and twist the environment to suit his/her narrow needs.

With that said, we will share, discuss and disseminate information on other wild species, besides our equines, that come under the threat of man’s eternal quest for physical gain while ignoring the roots of our spiritual tie to nature.  Predators are essential to the natural balance of nature and health of the environment so to remove them skews prey animal numbers and even affects botanical diversity and topographical structure. 

In essence, if it ain’t broke, don’t attempt to fix it.  Nature is best left alone to nature and our mission should be to preserve, observe and enjoy…an easy fix.  Perhaps, too easy” ~ R.T.


“Bill Would Also Halt Limits in Toxic Fishing Gear in Exchange for Near-meaningless Symbolic Legislation…”

WASHINGTON— Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined forces with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to introduce legislation today that would end Endangered Species Act protections for thousands of wolves in the Great Lakes region and Wyoming and prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from ever addressing lead poisoning from fishing gear.

In exchange the legislation would reauthorize several conservation programs like the North America Wetlands Conservation Act — a procedural action by Congress that has no real-world impact on funding levels.

Barrasso, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has sponsored or cosponsored eight bills attacking the Endangered Species Act since 2015 and voted against the Act nearly a dozen times since 2011.

“Killing wolves and poisoning lakes and rivers with lead pollution does not help wildlife, but will severely tarnish Senator Cardin’s conservation legacy,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Why a Democrat like Cardin would accept this terribly lopsided deal at the same time the Trump administration is attempting to destroy 40 years of environmental protections is simply stupefying.”

The “Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act,’’ or “HELP” Wildlife Act, contains multiple conservation programs, including the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, the Chesapeake Bay Program and the North America Wetlands Conservation Act. However, reauthorization has no bearing on whether Congress ultimately allocates funding to a program in a given year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, more than 260 major laws have had their authorizations expire and continue to receive funding. These programs constitute over half of the non-defense budget each year.

“This legislation won’t help conservation on the ground anywhere — not a single animal or plant will benefit from this horrible legislation,” said Hartl. “Sadly Cardin is trading killing thousands of wolves for a largely symbolic effort to help Chesapeake Bay. This is a disaster.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

From Animal Welfare Institute: USDA Still Stonewalling on Access to Enforcement Records

” When BuzzFeed, which consulted with AWI for an April 28 story on the issue, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records pertaining to the site scrub, the USDA provided 1,771 pages of records with every single page completely blacked out—all information redacted.” – Animal Welfare Institute

SOURCE:  Animal Welfare Institute at awionline.org

After the public outcry regarding the US Department of Agriculture’s scrubbing of inspection records and other important enforcement documents from its website, the department began to restore selected records online. These included annual reports for research facilities and inspection reports for some registrants and licensees.

The bulk of the data remains missing, however. The USDA has not posted a single enforcement record (e.g., warning letter, stipulated penalty, or complaint) since August 2016. Also remaining offline are about two-thirds of the inspection reports that the USDA says “may contain personal information implicating the privacy interests of individuals and closely-held businesses.” These pertain to thousands of regulated entities (breeders, dealers, exhibitors, and others licensed or registered under the Animal Welfare Act).

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Bonnie Gestring, Northwest Circuit Rider for Earthworks, on contamination of U.S. waters caused by mining, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, June 21, 2017

3:00 pm PST … 4:00 pm MST … 5:00 pm CST … 6:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show  (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

Our guest tonight will be Bonnie Gestring, Northwest Circuit Rider for Earthworks, the only U.S. environmental nonprofit that focuses exclusively on the destructive impacts of resource extraction on communities and the environment, in the United States and around the world.

Water is a scarce and precious asset, particularly in the western United States, where the demand for freshwater is far out-pacing the supply. In the midst of declining fresh water supplies, an increasing number of hard rock mining companies are generating water pollution that will last for hundreds or thousands of years and new projects are on the horizon. Perpetual pollution from metal mines has contaminated drinking water aquifers, created long-standing public health risks, and destroyed fish and wildlife and their habitat.
The 1872 Mining Law still governs hardrock mining on U.S. public lands.
  • Multinational corporations mine publicly-owned minerals without paying the taxpayers for them.
  • The Law makes mining the “highest and best use” of public lands. Federal land managers do not deny mine proposals.
  • In addition, loopholes in the Clean Water Act allow hardrock mines to dump their toxic waste in to our lakes.

Bonnie Gestring began working with Earthworks in 2001. Prior to that, Bonnie worked as a Community Organizer at Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) in Helena, Montana. She was a leader in campaigns to stop gold mining on the Blackfoot River and to pass the citizen’s initiative banning open pit cyanide process mining in Montana. She has also provided critical support to residents in Libby, Montana dealing with illness and death caused by the W.R. Grace operation there.

Bonnie is co-author of the report Polluting the Future: How mining companies are polluting our nation’s waters in perpetuity.

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2017/06/21/bonnie-gestring-nw-circuit-rider-for-earthworks–mining-contamination-of-water

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

1/8/17 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation on BLM’s dangerous Radio Collar Study on the Adobe Town wild horses in Wyoming. Listen HERE.

2/15/17 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and donkey advocate David Duncan (Donkey Rescue World), talk about the killing of the world’s donkeys for ejiao. Listen HERE.

3/8/17 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Australian donkey advocate Andrea Jenkins, a member of Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary, on the ejiao issue in Australia. Listen HERE.

4/12/17 – Dawn Vincent, Head of Communications for The Donkey Sanctuary UK, and Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation. In January 2017, The Donkey Sanctuary (UK) issued a report titled “Under the Skin,” about the global demand for donkey skins used to produce a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) called ejiao. Listen HERE.

5/24/17 – ELAINE NASH, Founder and Dir. of Fleet of Angels, and Palomino Armstrong, founder of CHILLY PEPPER – MIRACLE MUSTANG, on the logistics of the rescue of the ISPMB horses and about the many wild horses that still need to be adopted. Listen HERE.

6/24/27 – Nancy Turner, Pres. of This Old Horse, a Minnesota nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide sanctuary to retired, rescued, and recovering horses, and Elaine Nash, Founder and Dir. of Fleet of Angels, a not-for-profit organization offering crisis management and transportation assistance during equine-related emergencies, talk about the ISPMB horses that still need to be adopted. Listen HERE.

Groups File Formal Petition to Ban Cyanide Traps in Wyoming

Story by as published on the Casper Star Tribune

“We’re not at war with native wildlife, and it is irresponsible to allow poison landmines to be sown anywhere in Wyoming,”

Star-Tribune File Photo

A coalition of environmental groups formally petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday asking for a ban of M-44s, a cyanide trap used to kill coyotes across the state.

Many of the groups, which include Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a similar petition in Idaho in March. Wildlife Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, decided to remove all M-44s from private, state and federal land in Idaho.

“We’re not at war with native wildlife, and it is irresponsible to allow poison landmines to be sown anywhere in Wyoming,” said Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “Wildlife Services got rid of M-44s in Idaho, and they should do the same in Wyoming before more pets, and even people, get hurt or killed.”

Trappers in Wyoming began using M-44s in 1975. The traps kill by injecting sodium cyanide powder into an animal’s mouth that releases hydrogen cyanide gas when mixed with saliva. Because the poison is metabolized instantly, M-44s are seen as a less hazardous way to kill predators than poisons like the now-banned 1080, which stays in carcasses and eviscerated populations of predators such as eagles and wolverines.

In the winter, the USDA Wildlife Services might have about 250 M-44s on the landscape in Wyoming, Mike Foster, state director of Wildlife Services, told the Star-Tribune in April.

The state Department of Agriculture also allows licensed commercial or private users to place the traps. The department’s predator management coordinator estimated about 300 were in the state in the winter.

Very few are on the landscape in the summer.

The petition addresses both Wildlife Services and the state Department of Agriculture.

Wildlife Services received the petition Tuesday and will respond directly, said USDA spokeswoman Lyndsay Cole.

Wyoming’s Department of Agriculture had not yet received a formal petition and as a result had no comment, said spokesman Derek Grant.

http://trib.com/lifestyles/recreation/groups-file-formal-petition-to-ban-cyanide-traps-in-wyoming/article_d6d4b320-09ad-5077-90de-14987261c0f5.html

Secretaries of Interior and Ag favoring special interests

We all know how important the Endangered Species Act is to cattle and chickens.  Thanks to our reader, Icyspots, for bringing this article to our attention.  –  Debbie

Source:  capitalpress.com

Farmers, ranchers have ‘unprecedented’ meeting with Ag, Interior secretaries

Ten Idaho and farmers and ranchers spent an hour meeting with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke June 2. They covered a wide range of topics important to the state’s and nation’s farming industries.
by Sean Ellis

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue speak about farm and natural resource issues June 2 at Boise State University. Earlier that day, the secretaries met privately with farmers and ranchers.

BOISE — Farmers and ranchers described a private meeting with two of President Donald Trump’s cabinet members June 2 as unprecedented and historic.

Instead of addressing the group, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke listened and took notes, according to those who were there.

“They just didn’t have an agenda. They truly wanted to listen to us,” said Aberdeen potato farmer Ritchey Toevs. “It was a pro-producer meeting. It was a completely different experience than I’ve ever had.”

“They didn’t really say much. They let us do the talking,” said Jerome dairyman Mike Roth. “I feel like I witnessed a little bit of history today.”

Idaho Farm Bureau Federation President Bryan Searle, a farmer from Shelley, said he was floored by the nature of the meeting.

“I’m still in shock that they didn’t talk. They just flat-out sat there and listened,” he said.

During the hour-long meeting, the producers were given 5 minutes each to present.

They covered a wide range of topics, from immigration and the importance of labor to aquifer recharge, Food Safety Modernization Act requirements, NAFTA, the U.S. Sheep Experiment station in Dubois, invasive water species, farm bill funding, the Endangered Species Act, Equal Access to Justice Act and grazing and other federal land-management issues.

A lot more could have been covered “but those that spoke hit on many of the issues important to most of the commodities in our state…,” said meeting participant Rick Waitley, executive director of Food Producers of Idaho.

He said ”Perdue was writing like crazy as people talked about their various concerns” and Zinke asked for specific names when it came to certain public lands issues, a development that impressed other meeting participants as well.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Great News! New York Senate Votes to Increase Penalties for Animal Cruelty Offenses

Story by as published on One Green Planet.org

People convicted of serious animal cruelty crimes will now be banned from owning companion animals.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

We have some great news for animals! The New York state Senate passed legislation on June 6, 2017, that would increase penalties for those convicted of animal cruelty. This legislation was sponsored by Republican Senator James Tedisco, and it received support from both major parties. According to Tedisco, “It’s the most bipartisan, nonpartisan day of the session … It’s a privilege to have an animal; it’s your responsibility to take care of them.”

People convicted of serious animal cruelty crimes will now be banned from owning companion animals. Additionally, they voted to double the jail time and fines for these crimes, from two years in prison and a $5,000 fine to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Those convicted will also be required to undergo a psychological evaluation. There is also a bill before the assembly that would make harming an animal a felony during the act of another felony, such as a burglary.

This is amazing news considering so many cases of animal cruelty either don’t get reported or when they do come to court, the penalties are hardly enough to deter people from repeating similar offenses. We are thrilled New York has made this major step to fight animal cruelty, especially since cases of animal cruelty have often gone overlooked and underpunished. We hope this is a sign there will be more improvements in animal cruelty laws across the nation.

Please share this good news with your friends and family!

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/new-york-senate-votes-to-increase-penalties-for-animal-cruelty/

Nevada Passes Law to Restrict Wildlife Trade

By: Mark Hofberg as published on the International Fund for Animal Welfare

“It is unfortunate that similar protection has not been granted to Nevada’s Wild Horses and Burros.” ~ R.T.


Nevada joins California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, New York, and New Jersey as states that have stood up for wildlife within their borders.

Another state has taken decisive action to stop wildlife trafficking.

On Monday, Governor Sandoval of Nevada signed SB 194 into law, making the Silver State the 7th state to restrict the trade of products such as ivory and rhino horn within the state to help save wildlife species.

photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wildlife poaching and trafficking is one of the principal threats to wildlife around the world, and the US is one of the world’s leading destinations for wildlife products to be traded and sold. Our demand for these products is contributing to precipitous drops in populations of threatened animals like elephants, rhinos, and pangolins.

By passing this legislation, Nevada is drawing a line in the sand, saying that they will not be a part of the decline of these amazing species by letting illegally sourced products made from them be bought and sold in the state.

SB 194 protects a suite of imperiled species in addition to elephants and rhinos, including African lions, tigers, pangolins, sea turtles, and others.

Nevada joins California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, New York, and New Jersey as states that have stood up for wildlife within their borders. SB 194 also brings Nevada closer in line with federal regulations passed last year that restrict ivory trade across state borders and into and out of the country.

These seven states are doing their part to relieve pressure on wildlife species that are being decimated by poaching and trafficking and ensure that elephants, rhinos, lions and other iconic species are here to stay.

Congratulations to the Nevada citizens and the coalition of wildlife conservation groups, spearheaded by the Humane Society of the United States and Dazzle Africa, who were instrumental in educating lawmakers about the problem and the need for SB 194. Many IFAW supporters in Nevada also offered their voices, contacting Governor Sandoval and asking him to sign the bill last week.